Meal planning is essential to healthy eating. I recently had one of those connect-the-dots moments. You know the ones. You’re cruising along in your life, just being you, and a memory is brought forward that gives you insight on yourself and/or your current life experience. And you’re, like, “Woah!”
I had one of those recently that directly relates to YOU and your desire to eat health-building Food Sass®, in the context of a full and busy life. Before we dive in, I’m serving up an important reminder:
Intermittent Fasting Program – 1 Week to Register!
The 28-day group intermittent fasting program, 28toGreat™, begins on Saturday, May 1, and registration closes next Wednesday.
28toGreat® is four fabulous weeks of programming and guidance around food TIMING and CHOICES, with a deep education about WHY the timing and choices matter. This program includes an eGuidebook, eRecipebook, 28 daily emails, four evening Zoom meetings, and a private Facebook forum.
Participants are WOW-ed by the program. Not only about how they feel, and about their progress toward their health goals. Also about the learning and support they experience during the program. Including about meal planning, our topic du jour. Two prior participants share their experience:
“As a 50-year-old woman with a family and a full-time job, it’s easy to set self-care aside and then fall prey to quick fix schemes during weak moments. The solid science-supported education involved in this program, together with Laurie as a guide, has cleared up several myths and put me on a path to better health.”
“As a psychotherapist and long-term eating disorder specialist, I would recommend the 28toGreat Program to people as a health enhancer, without question.”
Combining 16:8 intermittent fasting with an increase in healthy foods is powerful. It does wonders for our health, weight and energy, over time. And self-kindness is the magic potion that makes it all gel.
Registration closes soon, on Wed 4/28. REGISTER NOW so you don’t miss out!
My connect-the-dots meal planning moment
A few weeks ago, I was looking through boxes of old photos, trying to find a specific one. We’re talkin’ actual physical photos that I took with a bulky camera. Photos that I received from a specialized store after they developed the negatives from said camera into photos. And then the T-Rex ran by. Haha. Back to my moment.
Although this ended up being a long search, the journey was absolutely splendid. What fun to come across photos that warmed my heart, made me smile and brought back forgotten memories.
One photo was of the ginormous vegetable garden that my mom had every year. Mom was an avid gardener with a short growing season in our small Maine coastal town. Although she liked gardening, that veggie garden was a financial necessity for our family, and Mom learned to put food away (store it) like a BOSS. She was a meal planning machine.
We had a huge chest freezer in the garage, and she would spend hours processing harvested veggies to stock it. I particularly remember the green beans. They turned such a fun color green when she blanched them. Then she’d pop them in freezer bags—enough in each bag for a family of five—suck out the air and twist-tie them. And then into the freezer they went.
I was thinking about all of this, when it hit me:
My mom was the one that instilled the value of meal planning in me.
Why meal planning matters
You don’t need to have a garden, or be financially strapped, to benefit from meal planning. In fact, getting folks organized around food is a key aspect of my work with people—individually, in programs and at companies.
Why? Because most of us know that broccoli is better for us than Doritos. Yet there are many reasons the Doritos often end up muscling out the broccoli. A main one is that they’re an easy grab. SO…
Q: How can you eat for health, while simultaneously living a very full life?
A: By chunking food prep into focused time slots, and then storing it wisely.
Food Sass® Mojo. Meal planning for success
Planning is a game-changer. This doesn’t mean we get all weird and rigid around food; instead planning FREES us around food.
Freezing foods in serving sizes allows you to have a nutritious, delicious dinner on the table—between work and the 7th grade football carpool—in minutes. WAY cheaper than eating out, too. And likely healthier.
We can freeze so many foods. I freeze sauces (pesto, gravy, feta sauce, etc.) in 1-oz servings. I have tallow frozen in 1-oz servings for making fried green tomatoes (mmmmm). I freeze cooked fish cakes, mashed sweet potatoes, avocado halves, almond flour pancakes, mashed potatoes, soups, stews, chili and many other dishes.
The trick is to make the dish, and then serving-size it—in tiny containers (sauces), 2-cup Pyrex containers (soups, stews, chili) or dolloped onto a parchment paper (ie: fish cakes or mashed sweet potato)—and place on a cookie sheet and slide it into the freezer. Once frozen, you can store the individual servings in large re-usable bags or containers, in the freezer.
This means that we chunk food prep into a few hours on a weekend or weeknight. I’ll often do this while I’m in the kitchen already, cooking a meal or doing dishes. I multi-task to tee myself up for easy healthy food during the week. And you can too! Give yourself the gift of meal planning, and more closer to your health goals.
Create Vibrant Health: BodyMindSpirit®
With love, and copious ideas for food and health,